Sinclair Smith & Company is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Our services include strategic consulting, industrial design and interior design.



Dated color

Posted on Jun 4, 2011 in Architecture, Brooklyn, Color, Transportation

Believe it or not, this photo was taken today. The Impala (62?) is a dated color, but it’s the car with the mustard, blue and browns of the background houses that really push this image back about 40 or 50 years.

The New York Times Building: Love

Posted on May 27, 2011 in Architecture, Hardware, New York


One of the things I love most about my friend Jeremy Zilar is that when we need to get together to talk, I get to go have lunch at the New York Times Building. I love that building. I really respect the work of Renzo Piano. It’s a joy to get to go up into all that elegant and mechanical steel. The man knows his connections.

The Bank Note Building

Posted on May 24, 2011 in Architecture, Color, New York

My wife and I take the Bruckner Expressway a lot to and from her parents’ house and for years we’ve been admiring (at brief 60mph intervals) the redevelopment of a vast, old brick building in Hunts Point, Bronx, highlighted by yellow fire escapes and a big red smokestack. The Bank Note Building is so called for “The American Bank Note Company, a firm founded in 1795 to print currency, postage stamps, war bonds and stock certificates.” The firm relocated in 1985. The redevelopment of The Bank Note Building is nicely done, and I was recently happy to take on a new client with offices there. Check out the building’s site for more info and history.

Doyle & Doyle tray holding chair rail

Posted on May 15, 2011 in Architecture, Hardware, New York, Retail

Downtown jewelry store Doyle & Doyle has a clever chair rail detail throughout the interior that allows its employees to insert velvet jewelry trays into a reveal, thus holding them in place, enabling two handed operation of locked display cabinets and removal of jewelry, and catching anything that falls from the display mounts accidentally. It’s a highly functional and ergonomic design detail, integrated perfectly into the historic wall space of the chair rail. Our eye likes to see the chair rail as a pleasing horizontal line, but in a space without chairs, it is superfluous ornament. I love to see classical architectural ornament come to life with new uses!

And yes, I did get her something for mother’s day.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this place…

Posted on May 13, 2011 in Architecture, SS&CO projects

…to be continued…

OKI in Brutus

Posted on May 10, 2011 in Architecture, Brooklyn, Featured, SS&CO projects

My wife and son and I were very honored to receive the kind editorial and photo team from the Japanese lifestyle and culture magazine Brutus in our home last month. And we are happy to be included in the May 2011 issue’s feature spread, “In Brooklyn Style”. Available on newstands!! There are some interesting homes featured along with ours showing the post-deconstructionist, reclaimed and renowned crafty-quilty-hodge-podge that is Brooklyn these days. Shout out to Jeff Staple for recommending us for the issue, and big thanks to Brutus writers/contributing editors David Imber and Mika Yoshida for their care and consideration. This was in the works for a while and we weren’t sure if it would fall through given recent events in Japan, but as they say, the show must go on…. Photographer Naho Kubota’s shots are excellent and I’d love to get a set to use here on the site. Click on the pics above and below for larger views. It’s feels good to get some design attention for a project that’s been ongoing for 11 years now. (wow!) There’s a link to the magazine online here, but I gather it will change after the 15h of May.

Oi my aching basecap! tsk tsk tsk.

Posted on Mar 27, 2011 in Architecture, Dysfunction, Home Improvement, Tools

Dear carpenters, if you miscalculate the run on your stair baseboard, this is not how to resolve it. As impressive as your mitering skills may be and as many digits as you may be willing to lose showing them off, running rococo with your basecap is never the right solution. Granted, I should be paying more attention to my child when taking him from school, but these are the things that drive me mad. Fondly, Sinclair.

46 Grand St. Header

Posted on Mar 16, 2011 in Architecture, Brooklyn, History, New York, Uncategorized


Someone has been doing some work to the ground floor of 46 Grand St in Williamsburg and I have been checking out the beautiful existing cast iron structural work that frames the opening. Interestingly, the header that spans the original storefront opening and supports the upper brick facade is arched. But more interestingly, it has a truss rod beneath it. I assumed that the original storefront had needed an arched detail at the top, but that made no sense if it would only be interrupted by the rod. Then I realized that the rod is holding the beam in tension to maximize its load bearing potential across that 25-30 span without exerting lateral force on the neighbors to the East and West and without having to be posted in the middle somewhere, thus providing a wide open storefront. Beautiful 19th Century stuff.

Architect Barbie is on the way…

Posted on Mar 3, 2011 in Architecture, Endless stuff, parenting, Toys

My mother the architect emailed me a link to the AIA’s news release that Mattel will be releasing “Architect Barbie” this Summer. I am not sure where to begin on this one— it just seems plain weird to me. Is Barbie even relevant enough anymore for this to make a difference in the aspirations of young girls? Apparently the AIA thought it could help inspire more young women to join the field. As of November 2010, women made up only 17% of AIA members. Read on…

Things to do on a rainy day; or While my Home Gently Weeps

Hi, I’m Sinclair Smith. You may recognize me from my home improvement show, This Olde Haus. Today’s home improvement tip may seem counter-intuitive, but if your roof is leaking and you have a dripping ceiling, your inclination might be to do anything to stop that water from coming down into your space, but in fact you want to do just the opposite– bring it on. Until the roof leak is fixed, water is going to come in no matter what and the best thing you can do to minimize ongoing damage to your home, the scope of the inevitable repair to your ceiling and the mess that repair will make is to get that water right in front of you where you can see and control it. Here’s something to bear in mind: dripping water usually indicates standing water that needs somewhere to go. And standing water is hard to dry out and potentially very damaging. So put a bucket and some towels down under the drip. Get up on a ladder with a drill and get ready. You’re gonna drill a weep hole in the ceiling right at the drip, and when you do that drip is probably going to turn into a little faucet. Soon enough, the water will slow and the amount entering your bucket will be a direct reflection of the amount penetrating the roof membrane. And that will tell you a lot about the scope of the necessary repair. In the meantime, you will be minimizing the area of your ceiling cavity that is susceptible to water damage and mold. Drilling a hole in the ceiling may seem like adding insult to injury, but I promise that when the repair bill comes around, you’ll be glad you did. (Sounds of beer bottles being opened and manly good cheer.)